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Vehicle size and occupant safety.

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Senator Ron Boswell 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for

Transport and Regional Services 

Leader of the National Party in the Senate

Senator for Queensland



21 October 1999 



Vehicle size is a critical safet y factor according to a report into the relative risks of death and injury in a crash faced by the occupants of different sized passenger vehicles released today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Senator Ron Boswell.

Commenting on the Federal Office of Road Safety report Vehicle compatibility: Analysis of fatal crashes (CR181), Senator Boswell said that the report on the Australian situation would make an important contribution to international efforts to understand and respond to the problems associated with variations in the size of vehicles within the total vehicle fleet.

He said that the issue of vehicle compatibility was a complex one that was now attracting considerable attention from the international research community. As expected, the results confirm that size of the vehicle is a key factor in crash outcomes.

"It is a matter of simple physics that in a two car head-on collision the occupants of the larger car tend to have a better chance of survival than the occupants of the smaller car", Senator Boswell said.

"For example, in a head-on collision between a small car and a large car, the driver of the small car is six times more likely to be killed than the driver of the large car.

"Recently, road safety researchers and vehicle manufacturers have become interested in how the composition and design of the vehicle fleet as a whole influences occupant safety. In Australia, for example, the small and large vehicle markets are growing therefore increasing the divergence in vehicle size in the fleet," he said.

Senator Boswell said that the report quantified the degree to which vehicle size influenced fatal injury outcomes and that this was a first step in developing vehicle design improvements to increase occupant protection in vehicles regardless of size.

"This is not an issue that Australia can solve on its own. Australia is committed to play its part in international efforts to ensure that all vehicles offer equal occupant protection in a collision irrespective of size," Senator Boswell said.

The report has been provided to an international group coordinating research to solve the problem of vehicle compatibility.

Copies of the report are available from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau Website or by phone: (02) 6274 7162.


Media Contact:
Wendy Whittaker: (07) 3001 8150 / (0418) 228 211



jy  1999-10-22  16:20